Quite simply, it was appalling behaviour.
Screaming like a One Direction fan. Banging tables. Foot stomping. A jig was performed, badly. And that was before he crossed the line.
I was in the public bar of a delightful little coastal pub. A midweek race had just been run, and won. By our horse.
To be fair, I had given due warning to the handful of punters present. As a part-owner, there was the remote possibility that I might get a tad excited, if things went our way.
I even tipped them in. Told them that our bloke would run way better than his odds suggested. Suggested that they have a dollar or two each way.
Two elderly locals in faded Hawaiian shirts offered little more than rude sniffs my way. I guessed they sat in those same chairs every day. They didn’t need tips from an unshaven bum with a bad case of sunburn.
Not so two young blokes in the bar. They were excited. Took my advice, and settled in as my new syndicate cheer squad.
Let us pause, because I hear you all asking the same question. Why was I not at the track, if the horse was such a decent chance?
Fair point. The original plan was very different. A drive back to Brisbane from our beachside holiday was on the cards. Until we put it to the vote.
The girls had lodged their verdict before I’d finished the question. No way were they going to endure a few hours in the car, when they could be enjoying the glorious sun and surf. Especially for a dumb horse race.
In the end, I had to agree with them. I couldn’t bring myself to put a shirt on, let alone long pants and shoes. And I’m pretty sure the good folk at Doomben wouldn’t have wanted me in the Members wearing my board shorts.
So that’s how I ended up in the pub. With strict instructions from the girls, that I had to be back for our afternoon surf session.
In running, he looked the best of things. I may have mentioned this, loudly, to no-one in particular.
Jeff Lloyd angled for a run, and the big chestnut surged. I brought the whip out in the bar, to lend a helping hand.
The finish was tight, but no-one could hear the caller. Because I had found a volume I wasn’t aware existed. The windows rattled, and glasses shook, as I urged him home.
It was then that I banged my hand on the table. Several times. And screamed Yes. Several times. It was something like Meg Ryan’s famous restaurant scene with Billy Crystal, in a Pub Tab. I’m sure someone in the adjoining bar whispered “I’ll have what he’s having.”
It was everything I hate seeing in others while trying to watch a race. But I couldn’t help it. After colic, and shin soreness, and wet tracks, and outside barriers, and sheer bloody bad luck, we’d done it. Our boy was a winner.
The young blokes were yelling too. And slapping me on the back. The old blokes were gathering their belongings to leave. Dirty, no doubt, that they’d ignored the tip.
When I came to my senses, I apologised, and asked if I could buy them a beer as a peace-offering. Too late. They’d be writing their complaint letter to the publican right about now.
My young friends had no hesitation in accepting a free drink. They were genuinely excited. That’s what racing does.
The mobile phone was in meltdown, with mates messaging from all over. They all knew how long we’d waited. Another wonderful part of the industry we love.
On any other race day, I would have been the last to leave the track. But not this one. An hour after correct weight, I was back in the surf. The girls were excited too. They were on promises of new bikinis if the photo-finish went our way.
If you were in the bar on Wednesday, or happen to live in surrounding streets, please accept my apologies. To the publican, thanks for erasing those security videos.
Part of being an owner, however small, is the fact that you can go crazy every now and then. It’s in the handbook.
Now that I think of it, me being off-track might be our lucky charm. It could be the secret to his success. I still reckon we can win the Cox Plate. Does anyone know a little pub near Mooney Valley?
Congraulations. Who cares if you look and sound like a banshee when your horse is winning?